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URMC testing bird flu vaccine

Rochester, N.Y. - Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are playing a vital role in preventing the spread of the bird flu, which hit China.

The flu, called H7N9, mainly affected people in their 50s and 60s. It caused severe respiratory symptoms. 30 percent of those who got sick died.

It is called bird flu because seagulls, ducks and other birds carry the Influenza A virus in their bodies and then it is transmitted to humans as the birds migrate in China.

Dr. John Treanor, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said the U of R is the only center testing a live vaccine which would prevent the bird flu.

The vaccine would be a nasal spray given much like FluMist is given to children for the seasonal flu.

Because it is a live vaccine, participants in the study would have to be isolated for 12 days and would then be given a booster shot with inactivated virus several weeks later.

They are paid to participate in the study.

This research was almost delayed because the government shutdown has stopped some projects funded by the National Institutes for Health. This one was given the approval by the NIH to continue.

Volunteers for the study must be between 18-49 years old in good health, not pregnant and not allergic to eggs. They also must limit travel out of the country during the study and cannot handle live chickens.

They could be paid anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 depending on how many live vaccine doses they are given.

For more information on how you can participate in the study, you can call: 585-273-3990.

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Washington Times